Teachers unions must stay strong


Recently, there have been a number of attacks on labor unions across this country. Right-to-work supporters would love to see labor unions disbanded. Those who support unions must band together to protect the efforts of these organizations.

Recently, the Tribune Chronicle editorial board called for the teachers in the Howland school system to give up a portion of their legally negotiated salaries.

Step increases in salaries are part of an agreement between the Howland teachers association and the Howland Board of Education. Other schools have the same setup.

The step salary increases resulted from the passage of a collective bargaining bill by the Ohio General Assembly back in the 1970s. Prior to this time, teacher salaries were determined by the school boards with no input from the teachers. There was no real negotiation process in place. Salaries of these college-educated teachers were low.

Teachers earn a bachelor’s degree to receive a teaching license. They must continue to pay for more classes in order to renew said license. They are encouraged to take more classes in order to earn a master’s degree. Even after earning a master’s degree, they must continue to take classes to renew their teaching licenses. And they must pay for these licenses as the years go by.

Of course, we know that teachers also pay for a lot of their classroom supplies out of their own pockets. If school boards expect teachers to give up their raises, should teachers stop supplying their classrooms?

The Tribune Chronicle editorial did not point out that school administrators earn quite a bit more than the average teacher. I believe administrators earn their pay, and many schools do not place their administrators on a salary step system. The superintendent and school board set the principal’s salary in most cases.

I encourage teachers in Howland and other school districts to follow their negotiated agreements. You earned the salaries you are receiving, and you are also setting standards for future teachers. It is difficult enough to attract good candidates into the profession. Stay strong.